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You Want to Divorce Your Husband, But He Gave Birth

Divorcing a Husband who gave birth to your children

This is the situation facing an Arizona couple.  Thomas and Nancy Beatie have been married for nine years.  They have three children together. They both want a divorce now.  However, they’re running into a snag.

The Marriage

It turns out Mr. Beatie was born a woman and had undergone a sex-change operation.  Despite the change, Mr. Beatie retained his ability to give birth to children and had three children during the marriage.

The couple married in Hawaii in 2003.  Mrs. Beatie is unable to have children, so Mr. Beatie conceived with donated sperm on all three occasions.

The couple are now together seeking a divorce.  If not for the transgender issue it would be a fairly routine dissolution.

The Legal Status of the Marriage

Arizona has a ban on same-sex marriages.  So now the judge has a quandary as he contemplates this divorce.  On one hand, he can’t recognize a same-sex marriage as valid by the laws of his state.  On the other, it’s not quite clear whether the couple is same-sex or a man and woman.

The judge will have to decide whether on which side a marriage involving a transgendered person falls.

Impact in Minnesota: What Marriage Validity Means

If this case were in Minnesota, the implications of whether or not the marriage was valid from the start are significant.  It could influence custody rights, child support, alimony, and property division.

In Minnesota, marriage can grant certain rights and privileges, some of which may continue in the case of a divorce.  If there never is a legal marriage, those rights could vanish.